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What is it about turning 40 that strikes fear into the heart of the typical American? Does the end of one’s fourth decade on Earth mark some elusive tipping point; signaling that there is no turning back, that youthful follies are no longer to be entertained, that it’s all going down hill?
Yes, turning 40 means you are now older than 58% of America*, putting you on the deviant side of the standard deviation, but TV Land is hoping to dispel the dread by featuring soon-to-be 40 year olds following their dreams in the new reality show “The Big 4-0.” As the show’s website says, “Over the hill is so over!”


In the premiere episode, which airs Wednesday at 10 p.m., former Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers running back Derrick Moore tackles his 40th with a touch football game. Moore, now the team chaplain for the Georgia Tech football team, wants to prove to himself that the second half of his life can be just as exhilarating as the first half. So Moore gathers together some ex-NFL friends to take on the very kids he mentors.
This episode is more “Rocky IV” than “My Super Sweet Sixteen” with vignettes of Moore trying to get his 39 year-old-body to perform 20-something training routines, although the show’s website promises future episodes with “Sweet Sixteen” excess. But the series promises to be a good mix of former models out to prove that 40 is sexy and people overcoming not just the obstacle of age, but true obstacles— such as the wheelchair bound birthday boy who wants to celebrate by skydiving.
In the end of the premiere episode, Moore’s team of old pros triumphs over the youths. If that doesn’t make you smile, then I’m throwing a flag. Who knows if the kids were trying to let Moore look good for the cameras, but when one of the ex-NFL players forgets that it’s “touch football” and tackles the opposition, well, you know that the game is definitely on.
There is nothing overly innovative about “The Big 4-0,” but with its refreshing, dare I say inspiring, take on reality— you won’t find the three C’s of reality television here: cleavage, cursing and consumption of alcohol, the show will surely find fans in demographics younger than TV Land’s typical 40 and 50 year olds.
* From The Big 40!: Are You Ready to Face … the Best Age Ever, published by Crown Publishing

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